Enchanted after overcoming mud, sand heaps and waterholes

ECO colleagues prove their team spirit at "Bad Wolf Dirt Run"

2018-09/ Obstacle runs are not really unfamiliar to international depelopment practitioners. But why not test your skills by experiencing nature from her most abhorring side (such the motto of the "Bad Wolf Dirt Run" competition)? This is what ECO Consult colleagues thought when they set out for the small community of Knüllwald that hosts the yearly "Wolf Dirt Run" challenge. The ECO team managed the 9-km-course across an ever increasing mass of mud, across waterholes and heaps of sand, and stayed enchanted. As junior manager Sissy Sepp put it: "It's a great experience to see our team spirit alive, and to really reach your own physical limits." In 2019, ECO will increase its starting team to 9. (From left: Fernando Camargo, Dr. Susanne Schmall, Dr. Mike Temmerman, Sissy Sepp, Lisa Kirtz.)

Sketching ways from Green Innovation Centres to Centres for Rural Development

One World without Hunger: ECO facilitates regional conference

2018-09/ A tasty selection of cookies and teas from Benin farmers was offered to the 200 participants gathered for the regional conference of the GIZ support programme to BMZ’s flagship initiative “One World Without Hunger” — a beautiful symbol for the programme’s objectives: to increase revenues of smallholder farmers, to create new jobs, and to improve food supply.

The programme is implemented in 15 countries worldwide, 13 in Sub-Saharan Africa, plus Tunisia and India. Partners at international and national level, from private and public sector and civil society collaborate on innovations in the fields of production, processing and marketing of staple foods and additional value chains.

ECO’s team of conference facilitators succeeded in creating a fruitful atmosphere for sharing of experiences and networking among stakeholders and project partners. This year’s regional conference focused on BMZ’s new strategic orientations to Centres for Rural Development, including additional topics such as organic agriculture, youth employment and the linkage between climate and agriculture into the ongoing work and thus support the countries in dealing with megatrends such as population growth and increasing food demand, youth bulge and migration, land scarcity, soil degradation and climate change.

Germany has helped establish Green Innovation Centres in 15 ODI partner countries as yet, with a future funding of 277.7 million euros for the centres allocated until 2022. Products and services provided by the innovation centres are to improve the living conditions of seven million people.

Cameroonian delegation on visit in Madagascar

Modernizing the wood energy chain

2018-09/ September this year, a delegation from the Republic of Cameroon was visiting the GIZ-PAGE projet (cf. right) in Madagascar, to study progress in sustainable wood energy, landscape restoration and afforestation schemes. The team, led by the attaché of the services of Cameroon's Prime Minister, was received by the Secretary General and senior officials of Madagascar's Ministry of the Environment. Thanks to PAGE's work in the Boeny and DIANA regions, national policy documents and regulations in the energy and environmental sectors had been revised, to consider wood energy at its fair value. Madagascar is internationally recognized for its commitment to integrate the concept of landscape and forest restoration into national policies.

Assisting China in maintaining her precious large-scale afforestations

Guidelines for appropriate decisions and action in the field

2018-07/ As part of its advisory services, ECO Consult has edited a silvicultural manual for the sub-tropical, mountainous areas of pilot locations in the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang (P.R. China) that was commissioned by BfN. Based on observations and lessons learnt from the Sino-German forestry cooperation project "Enhancement of Ecosystem Services of communally managed commercial Forests in China" the book helps translate the goals and management directions provided in forest management plans and/or stand-wise sylvicultural plans into appropriate decisions and action in the field.

Responding to site conditions and detailed stakeholder demands it communicates in a simple and easily digestible manner i.a. the tending and thinning of young and middle-aged forests. The manual's presentation by ECO Consult at a conference in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, was greatly welcomed by international and national implementation partners.

In countries that wish to adjust or expand management practices in the forest sector, practical silvicultural methods such as thinning techniques, skills like cutting jammed wood or basic work safety requirements are often critically needed. Handbooks that comprise aggregated knowledge for a given site in an easily graspable way can offer precious help.

The project "Enhancement of Ecosystem Services of communally managed commercial Forests in China" (cf. right) is implemented jointly by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and East China Normal University (Shanghai). It assists the P.R. in prioritising an evidence-based multi-purpose management and ecological stabilisation of forests in national forest policies – most notably the Master Plan on Forest Sector Development 2016-2020.

Following decades of highly successful reforestation programmes, forests from this era (commercial as well as protection forests) dominate entire landscapes across southern China. They are of low quality and highly susceptible to various environmental risks, including the mounting effects of climate change. If left unattended, they would likely fall prey to gradual degradation. 

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